Even though he’d lost his legs to severe frostbite after a climbing accident when he was 17, all Hugh Herr wanted to do was climb.
Video: An interview with Hugh Herr.
Video: The robotic ankle in action.
Calibrating the robotic ankle.
Herr puts on the ankle.
At five years old, after a series of operations had failed to repair his deformed legs, Rudy Garcia-Tolson chose to have them amputated rather than spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Now 19, Garcia-Tolson has set paralympic world records in swimming, and he competed in a half Ironman triathlon last year. For walking, he wears the Rheo Knee, an innovative prosthesis designed by Hugh Herr that adapts to the wearer. An embedded computer chip constantly modifies the resistance of the artificial joint according to its position and load, allowing it to adjust to changes in terrain and speed.
Video: Rudy Garcia-Tolson demonstrates the rheo knee.
In 2000, Marlon Shirley became the fastest amputee on earth with the aid of a carbon-fiber prosthesis designed especially for sprinting. Rather than mimicking the human foot, the Flex-Foot Cheetah, made by Ossur, an Icelandic prosthesis maker, takes its inspiration from the hind leg of the world’s fastest land animal.
Video: Marlon Shirley, the Fastest Amputee on Earth.